Newly Eclosed Monarch

I’ve been spotting Monarch caterpillars in my butterfly garden since the beginning of the summer.  I didn’t see the mama that laid the eggs but have been lucky to have seen caterpillars here and there all summer.  Yesterday I was lucky enough to spot one of those caterpillars as a newly eclosed butterfly in the garden.  It’s wonderful to see the process play out in nature from start to finish and a wonderful motivation to keep up with all the work that gardening entails to keep those butterflies and other native pollinators coming back.  I neglected my butterfly garden for a full summer and invasives took over – especially Japanese Stiltgrass… so this summer has been a lot of work to get it back to weed free (well… not sure “weed-free” is a real thing… but I’m battling the weeds nonetheless…).  There are only a few milkweed plants left (though I know they will spread) and yet with only a few – the butterflies are finding them.  It doesn’t take a huge area or a lot of plants to benefit our native species.  Whatever we can do – one plant at a time – does make a difference.  If you spend some time in your garden, after you plant, observing or taking pictures, it doesn’t take long to see the difference a plant can make.  So, don’t think you need a big yard. Start with whatever space you have.  Reach out to others local to your region for seeds to swap to save money.  You can make a difference, one plant at a time.

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